Archive for May, 2010

May 31

Tasty Saucy Hakka Restaurant

This place came highly recommended, I came here with some old high school friends and it was the best place for us to have dinner. Hakka Restaurant is very casual and family style,  it was the perfect place to go to for our gathering. At this time, they don’t serve alcoholic beverages,  but you are more than welcome to BYOB. The waiters don’t speak perfect English, though one of them did, our waiter didn’t. But I have to say, our waiter was really nice and had great recommendations for us. We had 8 people and we ordered about 8-9 dishes, it was a lot of food, but a great way for us to try everything.   I have to admit that I am not familiar with Hakka cuisine, though I did just find out from my mom that my dad had a little bit of Hakka in him.

Everything we ordered were very flavorful and most of them were saucy so they were great over rice.  We ordered a seabass cooked two ways: 1st way-mainly the bones of the fish were made for a soup, 2nd way-the meat of the fish were stir fried with vegetables.  The soup was very good, they even scooped out the ingredients cooked in the soup such as the soft tofu, thousand year old egg, ginger and parsley for us to enjoy. That definitely reminded me of eating at home!  The crab was REALLY good, we had it cooked and battered with salted egg and it was served with pumpkin in the same batter! WOW, definitely try it if you go! The clams with black bean sauce, the fish fillets with tofu in the clay pot, the stuffed tofu, the frog with veggies in a delicious sauce, the stewed pork belly with preserved vegetables and the salted and baked chicken were all good too! The stewed pork belly with preserved vegetables and the salted and baked chicken came highly recommended on Yelp, they were good but the pork belly was not as buttery as I expected and the chicken was not bad but not that great.  Maybe we went there expecting too much out of those two dishes.

Overall, I really liked Hakka Restaurant, I already told my mom that I can’t wait to bring her, I think she’s going to enjoy their home cooking style.

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May 23

Northern Szechwan to Southern Style Chinese at Sun’s Chinese Cuisine

Yesterday mom wanted to try a new restaurant, Sun’s Chinese Cuisine. We spotted it recently as we were parking our car on our way to Happy Cafe Restaurant. They are literally right across the street from each other. This place is cute, you can tell the owner tried to make it look Asian yet new. We weren’t sure what to order, but there were lots of photos to help, so we ordered quite a few dishes with the photos. I never really want to bad mouth dishes, but the xiao long boas were not that good, we had to try it to find out, but it was definitely not the best. However, many of the other dishes were unique and very flavorful. When the server realized it was our first time here, he told us that we must try the Cucumber & Shrimp Dumplings. We had already ordered quite a lot, but he let us know that he’ll give it to us on the house. Wow, that almost never happens…’Sure, we’ll take it!’ I think he was the owner, owners always care the most about the customers.  He was right,   I am so glad we got to try the Cucumber & Shrimp Dumplings. Normally when I eat dumplings, I dip them into my concoction of soy sauce, vinegar and hot sauce. But nowadays, I always have to taste it first before I dip, I always want to taste the the ingredients first. When I ate this, I could taste all the fresh cucumbers and shrimp and the skin of the dumpling was perfect. Not once did I dip the dumplings into my concoction, it was delicious! The other dish I really enjoyed was the Chive Pies. Wow, these were good! Inside the crispy paper thin dough were chives, small broken vermicelli and small pieces of tofu. We also liked the Pork Intestines with Clear Noodle Soup, I am not a fan of Pork Intestines, but mom and my husband loved it. I can’t remember if the menu states that it’s spicy, it was really spicy, but the parsley and maybe a secret ingredient added a wonderful scent and flavor to it.  Trust me, you won’t drink that spicy soup but you will enjoy the ingredients in the soup!    We also ordered the Ground Pork over rice with savory preserved vegetables which we thought were only okay. Last but not least, since I love noodles, we had to try the Taiwan Style Beef Stew Noodle Soup, but I have to say I wasn’t all that impressed with it. The owner was nice  and added beef tendons into  it,  the noodles textures were good, but the soup and beef stew and tendons were missing flavors.  Overall, they definitely have unique dishes,  I will definitely go back again to eat what we already like and I am sure they have other dishes that are just as good!

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May 19

Mom’s Birthday Dinner

Today was mom’s birthday so I wanted to take her out for dinner.  But, I didn’t want to bring her to Chinese food cause I feel like she eats it all the time.  My mom loves what she knows, but at the same time, she is willing to try new things depending on what it is. The last time I went to Cafe and Restaurant Montecristo, an El Salvadorean restaurant, we tried the fried Tilapia. When I saw it, it made me think of mom.  So, I decided to bring her. It’s not located at the best locations, but it is really charming and homey inside, looks like a family run business, I love mom and pop restaurants.

When we got there, they served us chips and salsa, the chips are probably fried cause they are really crispy. We ordered Pork and Cheese Pupusas, the Fried Tilapia served with rice and a Seafood Soup in a Tomato Base!  I wish I remembered the exact names of every dish but unfortunately the menus are not online! Everything we ordered was delicious, the flavors were sooo good! I think I was more worried about mom not liking the food, but she loved it too!  However, the next time we go, we must bring our own chopsticks to eat the Fried Tilapia, it’s hard to pick all the meat off a fish without chopsticks. And yes, we asked if they had chopsticks…and of course they didn’t. Haha!

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May 18

My Really Old Rice Cooker

I know it’s strange that I’m blogging about my rice cooker…but for some strange reason, this rice cooker means a lot to me. When people see my rice cooker, they wonder why I own such an old thing, since the new ones look nice and they look like they can talk to you or something, offering all these cool features. But my rice cooker is old, it belonged to my parents and they used this when I was a little kid, so yes, it is over 30 years old. It still works great and I just can’t seem to get rid of it. I took it with me to college but never used it much then, but when I moved out of my parents house, I used it almost everyday.  I guess it has a sentimental value to me. When my mom sees me using it, she always says ‘I can’t believe this thing still works’. My relatives recently came over to my house and looked at it too, then we noticed that it was Made in Japan, not Made in China. No offense to my people and all, but things Made in Japan are good quality stuff! My mom recently talked to me about a dish she used to bring to work for lunch, she said it was the best thing to bring cause it tasted good  at room temperature. She made me realize how lucky we are to have microwaves these days, they didn’t, so she always had to figure out what would taste okay the next day.  Wow…we are so lucky these days, we have microwaves and ovens…but we take it all for granted cause it’s just the way of life. So yes, I will not give up this rice cooker even though I see many cool looking ones, I will use this old thing until it gives up on me.

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May 16

Fun Adventures with Mom and Sis

A few weeks ago, my mom saw an ad in the Chinese newspaper, she told us that she wanted to go on one of the tour packages. My sister and I laughed when she told us that it started at 7am on a Sunday morning and ended at 7pm. WHAT?! 12 hours straight?! But we decided to do this with her not really knowing what to expect, we just thought it’d be nice to spend time together doing something different. Plus we thought it’d be nice to treat her to a nice day for a Mother’s Day and birthday present.  We didn’t even let her pay for anything! =) The tour was in Mandarin and Cantonese so for a change, she had to translate all the Mandarin for us. When I think about the tour, I guess we could have visited the places ourselves, but then again, it was nice that we didn’t have to drive or translate.

We first visited the Lavender Hollow Farm, they had beautiful lavenders everywhere! My mom was super excited to buy a lavender plant while my sister and I were super excited to test out the lavender delicacies. We decided to try the Lavender Lemonade, Lavender Butter Cookies and the Lavender Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt! The Lavender Lemonade had an edible lavender which I later found out was the plant my mom bought! I tried it and that’s when I could truly smell the lavender, it was definitely a strong smell in my mouth.  Followed by the farm, we went to a Chinese Buffet place, it was horrible so I am not even going to get into that. After lunch we went to Beekman & Beekman, the honey farm, this was the other place my mom really wanted to visit. She loves honey and says it’s really good for your health. She got herself the honeycomb, she said it was good for allergies and asthma, once she said that, everyone who heard her bought themselves a honeycomb too! Haha! We also got to taste 5 different honey flavors and a few honey wines, I loved the Orange Blossom Honey and California Honey, we ended up buying quite a lot! After the honey farm, we headed to the place my sister and I were looking forward to, Oakdale Cheese featuring a variety of Gouda cheese and even a delicious German Cheesecake!  I loved the cheese and bought myself the Mild, Aged and the Smoked! YUMM!  After we tasted a slice of the Cheesecake, we ended up buying a pie home! And last but not least, they had a Grilled Mild Gouda Cheese & Ham Sandwich too, we got one, but ended up buying a second cause it was sooo good!

It was a fun adventure with my mom and sister, the weather was warm, the places we visited were unique and at the end of the day, we all had such a great time!

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May 15

Sweet Surprises!

When I got home yesterday, I saw a big bag in our mail, ‘wth is this’? I usually come home to bills and junk mail, we send all of our online shopping to work so I thought it was strange. I looked closer at the bag and noticed that it was from Blue Bottle Coffee! Wow, I haven’t tried this yet and everyone always talks about their coffee, the funny thing was, I was just telling my brother-in-law 2 days ago about how we haven’t tried it. When I opened up the bag, there was a pound of Blue Bottle 17 ft Ceiling Coffee Beans and it was from our friend Ray! While I was surprised with the Coffee Beans, I then saw a box on the dining table, ‘what is this, another gift’? WOW, it was a little box from Bi-Rite Creamery and there was 2 cupcakes inside! Turns out my sister dropped off a Salted Caramel and Velvet with Earl Grey Frosting Cupcake from Bi-Rite Creamery! I never tried this either and never knew they had cupcakes, I have only tried their Salted Caramel Ice Cream and love it!

Wow, I seriously came home to sweet surprises and now I am enjoying them for breakfast! They are both delicious and complements each other perfectly! LOVE IT, THANK YOU, YOU TWO PUT A BIG SMILE ON MY FACE! =)

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May 15

I *Heart* Korean Food

One of my favorite is definitely Korean food! I love all the flavors, all the spices and all the condiments! One thing you never see is anyone adding salt and pepper to their Korean food, that would be wrong. Last night we went to Korean Bar-B-Que, they offer a buffet. I have to say, I am a skeptic when it comes to buffets, but I love the Kalbi, Pork Belly (Sam Gyup Sal)  and Squid here!  Pork Belly is one of my favorites!  I love dipping the grilled pork belly into the peppered sesame oil, wrapping it with the lettuce and adding some bean paste and a piece of kimchi.  YUMM! And the dinner buffet is only $22.00, it’s a deal for me cause I get my money’s worth!

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May 11

Simple Steamed Eggs Recipe

My sister-in-law recently told me a simple way to make steamed eggs! So, I decided to try it out! Yes, it is so simple that this recipe is in a post instead!  I was having a lazy cooking day, yes…I have those a lot too! I bought chives over the weekend so I decided to make steamed eggs with chives! All I had to do was use 1 can of chicken broth, 4 eggs and chop up the chives! This turned out good and was perfect over our rice!

Directions:

  • Mix the 4 Eggs with 1 Can of Chicken Broth
  • Chop up the Chives
  • Put the Chives into the Metal Plate and then Add the Mixed Eggs and Chicken Broth
  • Boil water in a wok or pot with a metal steamer holder
  • After it boils, turn to low medium heat and place plate for 25 minutes
  • Place one chopstick at the end of each side on the wok/pot cover to hold up the cover, this way the eggs cook into a smooth texture.
  • Taste, add salt or soy sauce if needed, I added Maggi Seasoning!

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May 09

Mother’s 媽媽 Day!

For Mother’s Day, instead of cooking or taking mom out for dinner, we decided to have hot pot at home!  The only request she had was to get her clams! We bought so much food for her feast: Shrimp, clams, sea bass, Napa cabbage, fish balls, beef tendon balls, sliced lamb meat, soft tofu, fried tofu, watercress, daikon, black mushrooms, enoki mushrooms and udon! We love hot pot, we have lots of dipping sauces at home and we always chop up lots of garlic and green onions for the dipping sauce too! The soup base for the hot pot is really essential and I always use the Lee Kum Kee Hot Pot Soup Base! They have quite a selection and I love the Satay flavor, it was perfect for our dinner!

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May 08

Sushi Who? Sushi Sam’s

We decided to take my sister out to dinner being her pick for the night, she asked if we could take her to Tani’s Kitchen! Unfortunately, we just went on Friday night! So…since she wanted fresh fish and since we wanted to take her to a place she’s never been, we decided to take her to Sushi Sam’s!  There is always a long line at this place, it is seriously ALWAYS packed. We got lucky and the wait was only about 20 minutes or so. We all decided to get an Omakase dinner, we got the sushi and the sashimi Omakase meals. And of course we had to get their signature hand rolls, the Chili Dog filled with tuna and seaweed and the Unagi hand roll filled with crab and avocado! I have to say, we waited a long time for our Omakase dinners, not too sure why it took so long but it did and I got quite irritated. However, after I ate the fish, I felt better, it was all very high quality, fresh and tasty fish! And, the desserts served with the Omakase dinner are always a sweet surprise!

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